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Happy National Stop Smoking Day!

Along with Memorial Day, today is also National Stop Smoking Day here in the United States. Most people understand that nicotine is a drug. But did you know that nicotine is as addictive (if not more) than heroin? It’s no wonder that so many people have difficulty quitting – and staying quit. For decades, the only way that most people had at their disposal to stop smoking was giving up “cold turkey.” And the success rate of that was almost nil. Fortunately, there are now medications and other proven-effective tools that have helped countless men and women stop smoking for good. If you’re interested in some of these options, your primary care physician can help you select an option that’s best for you.

But what really happens when a person stops smoking? How long does it take before the health benefits kick in? The answer might surprise you: 20 minutes. That’s right. In just 20 minutes after a smoker’s last cigarette, the health benefits of not smoking start. Check out this timeline of what happens when a person stops smoking:

20 minutes after the last cigarette: Pulse rate returns to normal.

8 hours after the last cigarette:  Oxygen levels return to normal. Nicotine and carbon monoxide levels in the blood decrease by over 50%.

48 hours:  Sense of taste and smell is improved. However, symptoms of nicotine withdrawal (usually anxiety and irritability) might start to appear.

72 hours:  Nicotine is completely eliminated from the body and nicotine withdrawal symptoms will have peaked. The lungs begin to relax and breathing is easier.

5 to 10 days: Nicotine cravings begin to reduce.

2 to 12 weeks: Blood circulation begins to improve, physical activity becomes easier, and the psychological effects of withdrawal have ended.

3 to 9 months: Lung function greatly improves, coughing/wheezing becomes less frequent, and the risk of respiratory infections lessens.

1 year: The risk of heart disease decreases by almost 50%.

5 years: Blood vessels start widening, reducing the risk for blood clots and stroke .

10 years:  The risk for lung cancer is reduced by almost 50% and the likelihood of mouth, esophageal, throat, and pancreatic cancer is also greatly reduced.

15 years: Your risk of developing heart disease is the same as a non-smoker.

20 years: The likelihood that you’ll develop pancreatic cancer is now equivalent to that of someone who has never smoked. In females, the risk of dying from all smoking-related causes is also now the same as that of a non-smoker.

Nicotine is a highly addictive drug and most people need help to recover from addiction. If you or a loved one needs help in overcoming an addiction to any drug or alcohol, Plum Creek Recovery Ranch is here to help. Click here to contact one of our caring Admissions Counselors for an absolutely free and anonymous chemical dependency assessment.

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